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CDC Vital Signs: Binge Drinking among Women and High School Girls

Binge drinking is a dangerous behavior but is not widely recognized as a women’s health problem. CDC’s latest Vital Signs report shows that nearly 14 million U.S. women binge drink about three times a month, and consume an average of six drinks per binge. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion for women and girls.

  • About 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school girls report binge drinking.
  • Binge drinking was most common among white and Hispanic women, and among women with household incomes of $75,000 or more.
  • Half of all high school girls who drink alcohol report binge drinking.

Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes about 23,000 deaths among women and girls in the United States each year. It puts women at increased risk for many health problems such as breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease, and unintended pregnancy. Pregnant women who binge drink expose a developing baby to high levels of alcohol, which can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and sudden infant death syndrome.

Individuals who are concerned about their own or someone else's binge drinking can call 1-800-662-HELP to receive assistance from the national Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service.

Selected Quotes

Binge drinking causes many health problems, and there are proven ways to prevent excessive drinking. Effective measures can support women, girls, and communities in making wise choices about whether to drink or how much to drink if they do.
- CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

It is alarming to see that binge drinking is so common among women and girls, and that women and girls are drinking so much when they do. The good news is that the same scientifically proven strategies for communities and clinical settings that we know can prevent binge drinking in the overall population can also work to prevent binge drinking among women and girls.
- Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., of CDC’s Alcohol Program

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Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokesperson
Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

Spokesperson
Robert Brewer, MD, MSPH

Graphics/Charts
Vital Signs graphic
Binge Drinking: A serious, Under-Recognized Problem amoung Woman and Girls
One in eight - Nearly 14 million US women binge drink about three times a month
One in five high school girls binge drink
Women average size drinks per binge
Vital Signs graphic
Nearly fourteen million US women binge drink, averaging 6 drinks per binge.
Bottles and glasses of alcohol

Bottles of beer and glasses of wine, mixed drinks and beer.
Photo by: Debora Cartagena

Woman holding her head with a glass in her hand
Multimedia

Podcast

Video

Binge Drinking
Binge Drinking

Author: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
Date: 04/13/2010
Binge Drinking

 
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